Its soon going to be placement season in campuses and yet we see a huge gap between the number of graduates available in the labor pool and the number of companies out there to get jobs, if you look at a typical campus in Tier 2 or Tier 3 college, this difference becomes all the starker, in a campus of 2000 students less than 12 companies show up with an offer of fewer than 45 jobs. This skewed ratio is at the heart of unemployment in our country and the root cause of why India has so much labor that is sitting idle and unproductive. One Kochi-based startup has set out to remedy this gap with a strong focus on bridging the gap between colleges and companies. Avodha.com as the platform is called is a company based out of Kochi, Kerala focussing on creating solutions for placements cells in colleges. When asked how the startup does this, its 24-year-old Founder points to the huge demand in skilled labor and lack of skill in the labor pool, he believes that the problem is the lack of skilled labor that companies will find productive and useful and therefore feel that a technology-enabled product will be able to bridge this gap. By closely working with placement cells of over 200 colleges, Avodha has been able to build a solution to this problem by increasing the placement percentage of these college campuses. With offices in every corner of the country and regional offices in Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Coimbatore, Kochi, Kannur, and Trivandrum Avodha is able to deploy its staff on the ground to collect real-time feedback from colleges and their students. Using this data Avodha is able to effectively map these students to appropriate courses. Each course is curated keeping industry needs in mind, Avodha has an internal process wherein they track jobs and job descriptions available online, using Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing, Avodha is able to track the skills that these companies require and pinpoint those skills that are more in demand for a particular job type, this data is then used to model the course curriculum. Courses curated in this fashion are effective in developing skills in students that companies actually look for, while this handles one part of the problem, the demand side of the job equation still lies open.
Avodha runs a parallel jobs platform that aggregates jobs most appropriate for their target segment, by using Machine Learning AVodha is able to dynamically match students to jobs on its platform and assist in the placements of those students that have completed its courses. "We use a host of factors to match students to jobs, this would include the location of the job, salary expectation, skills acquired and performance in course-related tests and quizzes", says Joseph, by including these variables in its automated decision-making process Avodha is able to place students at scale pan-India. Using a combination of all these factors Avodha has successfully been able to place over 70,000 students into various job roles.
Campus Placement Drives
Avodha also conducts placement drives with its partner companies and partner colleges by linking them both, once a certain number of Avodha course completed students are available in a college, the regional team will organize a placement drive at the college. Such placement drives are an integral part of the operations at Avodha and are routinely conducted at partner College campuses across the country.
When asked if this model was sustainable Joseph says, "Jobs will always be available in bulk, the problem is being skilled to do these jobs, the more skilled labor that is available in a country, the industry will grow accordingly, India is the IT Hub because we have the most and the best IT talent in the world, Germany is known for Automobile Manufacturing because its people are skilled in that trade, as skill development improves, industry and jobs will grow with it". Avodha however, is not just focused on IT, with over 23 focus segments across IT, Finance, Hardware, Design, and Engineering, Avodha has built a space for students to come and be able to explore their passion and land a job related to the course they've studied with Avodha. Furthermore, keeping in mind the fact that college students may want to change their decision, AVodha allows for free course switching, enabling students to switch from one course to another and subsequently keeping them engaged and increasing the likelihood of students reaching the end of the journey.